|Exterior view of my church|
There will be three "listening sessions," from June 8 to 16.
As I wrote in comments on my previous post, I had learned that these will not be "free-for-all" but structured conversations. The parish leadership is asking all members to reflect on three questions in preparation for the sessions. They are:
- What occasions in your life have prompted you to seek the formal blessing of the church?
- Into what covenantal relationships have you entered? And how did you mark those liturgically?
- How has the authority of Scripture impacted your decision making on important matters? Does the church you were raised in (i.e., your formative experience) affect your approach to Scripture?
They also remind me of the sort of questions that were posted in the big Episcopal Church conference held in Atlanta back in March 2011 (which I also attended) to reflect on TEC's development of rites for same-sex blessings. Both are using questions designed to encourage reflection and dialogue, not "position statements." Kudos to our parish leaders for following that model.
Also, notice this: The sessions are being held in the sanctuary, not the parish hall. The same was true of the listening sessions a couple years ago, when we were considering whether/how to reorganize our worship space. I think it's no accident that the parish leaders have chosen to hold the conversations in our "holy space" and not in the parish hall. I think being in that space calls us to be in attitude of prayer, reverence, and respect, even if we may have difficult things to say and difficult stories to share.
I thank all who have shared this walk with me, and I hope you will continue to keep me and my parish in your prayers.